Oscar Pistorius is being allowed to remain at a ‘relaxed’ prison for non-violent offenders despite his conviction for murder, Mail Online has learned.
Atteridgeville Correctional Facility houses inmates serving sentences of up to only six years – less than half of Pistorius’ punishment – and the decision to spare him a return to a maximum security jail is bound to prompt accusations that the fallen sporting icon is receiving special treatment.
Pistorius spent a year on the hospital wing of the overcrowded Kgosi Mampuru II jail, a few miles from his family’s luxury compound, before moving to Atteridgeville two years ago.
Oscar Pistorius is being allowed to remain at a ‘relaxed’ prison for non-violent offenders despite his conviction for murdering Reeva Steenkamp (pictured together in 2013)
He was said to be dreading a return to the notorious facility where violent gangs rule the roost over 8,000 inmates, after his six year sentence was more than doubled in a dramatic appeal last November.
But today, a spokesman for Atteridgeville, where Pistorius’ cell has a specially adapted en-suite bathroom and he is allowed to grow his own food in the extensive gardens, confirmed the 31 year-old had been given permission to remain after being found to be ‘low risk’.
‘When a sentence is altered for a sentenced offender, a security assessment is done to determine his classification,’ Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesman for the Department of Correctional Services told Mail Online.
‘That process has been done and has informed a decision that the inmate can remain.’
Atteridgeville Correctional Facility (pictured) houses inmates serving sentences of up to only six years – less than half of Pistorius’ punishment
He was said to be dreading a return to Kgosi Mampuru II jail (above) after his six year sentence was more than doubled in a dramatic appeal last November
The ruling means that the Paralympian is almost certainly the only convicted murderer in the facility which houses just 1,000 prisoners in what has been described as a ‘relaxed, family atmosphere’ and by one of Pistorius’s relatives as ‘the best place he could be as a prisoner’.
Senior barrister Dr Llewelyn Curlewis told MailOnline that although the decision by the Department of Correctional Services is ‘unusual’ it can be justified because of Pistorius’ status as a double amputee.
‘Undoubtedly Pistorius is regarded as a special case, not because he is famous, or now notorious, but because he is a double amputee and that means he needs special care and consideration.
‘They could well have decided that since they have gone to the expense of setting things up for him properly at Atteridgeville, it presents the easiest solution for all parties.
Pistorius’ cell at Atteridgeville (above) has a specially adapted en-suite bathroom and he is allowed to grow his own food in the extensive gardens
Pistorius was first arrested on Valentine’s Day 2013 after shooting through a locked toilet door and killing 29 year-old model Reeva Steenkamp
‘Of course this now sets a precedent and it will be hard for the department not to afford similar treatment to other inmates, who have similar levels of disability.
‘If they cannot do that, then they will lay themselves open to accusations that Pistorius is receiving special treatment and not only because of his disability,’ he added.
Last month, it emerged that the ‘Blade Runner’ was involved in a fight with a prisoner from a neighbouring cell over the use of a public phone at Atteridgeville, and was left bruised after the altercation.
Last month, it emerged that the ‘Blade Runner’ was involved in a fight with a prisoner from a neighbouring cell over the use of a public phone
Today Mr Nxumalo confirmed the incident ‘was handled internally’ but would not say whether any punishments had been meted out to either man.
While at Kgosi Mampuru II, Pistorius reportedly lived in fear for his life, eating only tinned food bought from the prison’s tuck shop, convinced he was in danger of being poisoned.
Members of the notorious ‘numbers’ gangs are said to use rape and other violent acts as initiation rituals or to extort protection money.
Pistorius was first arrested on Valentine’s Day 2013 after shooting through a locked toilet door and killing 29 year-old model Reeva Steenkamp.
Since his original conviction for manslaughter, his case has been in and out of court with subsequent successful appeals by the state to upgrade the conviction to murder and then the six year sentence imposed for that.
Pistorius’ family are now applying for the newly-increased sentence, which was effectively South Africa’s statutory minimum murder tariff minus time already served, to be reviewed by the Constitutional court.